Directed by Bill Rahn, who co-wrote the script with Chris Adams, Legend of The Oro Arrowhead is a treasure-hunting adventure with a lot of infectious energy and spirit. The film begins in medias res with a man running through the woods, trudging through water, and hiding from people chasing him with flashlights as thunderous music plays in the background. After this brief scene of tension and unease, the movie cuts to one week earlier, following rugged protagonist Jim Powell (Stephen Thompson) as he makes his way to his recently deceased father’s place.
While boxing up his father’s belongings, Jim discovers that his father has been searching for the mystical Oro Arrowhead. The artifact intrigues Jim, enough to make him wander the tight-knit community and ask everyone he encounters if they know anything about his father’s obsession. They all react strangely, insisting that he leave and go home. Clearly, there is something concrete and potentially dangerous about his father’s search. Feeling like there is more to his father’s death than just natural causes, Jim hopes to unmask his father’s killer by unearthing the truth behind the mystical arrowhead. Along the journey, Jim meets a half Cherokee woman named Gola (Vanessa Ore), who’s adept at survival and knowledgeable about Cherokee folklore.
“…Jim hopes to unmask his father’s killer by unearthing the truth behind the mystical arrowhead.”
On the surface, Legend of The Oro Arrowhead is your typical adventure film about a brawny protagonist and his female companion as they confront a power-hungry threat while searching for an invaluable artifact. But the formula works, at least in this case. Thompson makes for a captivating lead with a calm demeanor that exudes confidence and pluck. While Gola exists to divulge exposition, Ore does so naturally, as her character speaks for the Cherokee people who have been forcibly removed from their land. The actor proves to be an agreeable addition to the movie. Because Jim and Gola are written as having opposing personalities (Jim is your boastful extrovert, whereas Gola is your snappy introvert), Thompson and Vanessa have diverting chemistry, which helps sustain the momentum.
The big bad is Sable Fade, a corrupt mayor who craves power and control. She’s your run-of-the-mill antagonist, but Robbie Dernehl plays her with conviction. Sable’s intervention results in gunplay and fistfights, but the tension is lacking on account of an unusually upbeat soundtrack and cheesy dialogue. Even so, the actors see to it that there’s enjoyment to be had.
Director of photography Scott McClannahan nicely captures the leafy, sylvan setting with a series of well-executed long shots. One in particular zooms in on Sable’s secluded, palatial mansion, helping to depict the character’s dominance over the entire community. Overall, the movie is generally well-shot and paced well enough. But again, this story has been told before.
Despite following the standard formula and possessing odd tonal shifts, Legend of The Oro Arrowhead is elevated by charismatic performances and splendid cinematography. Everyone involved in the movie is clearly giving it their all while still having fun. At the end of the day, this journey is worth embarking on.
"…elevated by charismatic performances and splendid cinematography."